Dilar Kisekyol is a professional boxer. This alone can represent diversity in the sport. But at least as an example of a temporary change towards increasing women’s presence and interest in sports, for more diversity, inclusion and equality. Boxing helped the Hamburg native to assert herself and go her own way. Even if her parents prefer her to play the piano.
She doesn’t just make a living with her fists, which would be difficult for a woman in male-dominated boxing anyway. She studied social education and is a gymnastics teacher. Social obligation is her concern, respect, freedom and justice – in and out of sport.
Kisikyol: “Boxing has given me a lot”
“I want to be a boxing ambassador and make sure that people with disabilities can participate as well. So we can learn to live together instead of each other,” the 30-year-old with Kurdish roots said at the NDR gym. Regardless of origin, religion, or gender: Everyone should be accepted and recognized, according to Kisikyol. That’s why it burns – and it has the correct name: “Dilar comes from the Kurdish language and means” heart of fire “.
“I want to become a boxing ambassador and make sure that people with disabilities can participate as well. So that we can learn to live together rather than each other.”
The German international champion in ultra-lightweight weight up to 63.5 kg, who has won six professional fights so far without exception (one by knockout), is not only strong, but also steady outside the ring and, in her own words, full of great pioneering spirit. “Boxing has given me so much for my life.” And she wants to convey this positive experience: “Even people who use wheelchairs can perform adaptive exercises,” she says.
Fighting is in her blood
I created the “You Fight” project. Anyone who wants it should “get into boxing – and get a perspective on a life that they decide themselves”. Kisikyol, who was born in Leverkusen as the youngest of the triplets, was practically born with combat duty. When she was born prematurely on February 2, 1992, she weighed only 1,500 grams.
In the ring at 16
When she was sixteen, a neighbor sparked her passion for boxing. Not exactly to the delight of her mother, who has other ideas. But the piano teacher had an understanding. “Dilar, you better find something else,” I advised her in view of her modest talent – and eventually her parents, who emigrated from Turkey and have Kurdish roots, agreed with this opinion. It is said that in addition to education, the freedom of their children was also important to them.
She is forever grateful to her parents for this, even if the path is not easy. Especially in times when diversity and equality weren’t overly marked – especially in boxing. Regina Halmich (“It’s such a wonderful thing you did for women’s boxing.”) For many years, she was considered an outsider in the tough world of boxing.
Kisekyol felt biased: “You don’t look like a boxer at all” was a typical comment. Or: “Women can’t box.” This didn’t dissuade her, though, as she wanted to go back to her first way of training when she only saw boys. A friend helped her overcome her shyness. Everything else was “love at first sight” for her sport – and this has not been interrupted to this day. “In boxing, a person is just a person. Origin or religion does not matter.”
Cardio and training project with Parkinson’s patients
Her flawless record as a professional boxer, three college championships, state champion titles, and bronze medals at the German Championships prove that she is a success from an athletic point of view. On June 18, she will enter the ring in Rostock for her seventh professional fight.
But that’s just one aspect of Dilar Kisikyol’s confidence. In addition to her Heart You Fight project, she has also recently also cared for and trained Parkinson’s patients. Muhammad Ali also suffered from a central nervous system disorder known as vibration paralysis. Symptoms of the disease include movement disorders, tremors, muscle stiffness, and unstable posture. Boxing training should improve coordination and ideally help create new neural connections in the brain.
Responsible for Women and Inclusion in the Boxing Association
Once a week, Kisikyol meets with sick women for special training in the boxing gym. Volunteer, even if she is very demanding in addition to her regular work and looking for sponsors. Her calm and fun-loving nature paired with clear and sometimes stern declarations is well received. In the Parkinson’s group, as in the young man with Down syndrome, whom you take care of mathematically.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the position of representative of women and inclusion established by the Hamburg Amateur Boxing Association (HABV) was occupied by the social worker, who came to the Hanseatic city from Düsseldorf after completing her studies in 2019. “In addition to her sports activity, she has very good ideas, And she thinks outside the box, and she’s a very strong person,” HABV Vice President Raico Morales said recently at Hamburg Abendblatt.
Giving women a bigger stage
It wasn’t easy becoming who she is today, says Dilar Kisikyol. They often experienced fear and doubt. However, she wants to encourage others to go their own way and achieve their dreams. Being able to live off boxing alone is just a dream of hers at the moment. Kisikyol wishes, “You have to give the women a bigger stage, after all, we train as hard as the men.”